Life After High School: The Gap Year

Are you in high school wondering what your next move should be after graduation? Maybe you’re currently applying for university or trying to snag your dream internship? Perhaps you’ve been out of school for a little while but now you’re trying to decide whether to go back? If any of that sounds like you, keep reading.

Today, we’re talking to Glorian, a Venzualan immigrant who’s planning on attending college after an impromptu “gap year”. Keep reading to get Gary’s take on her journey and his advice for anyone in a similar position.

The Gap Year

A proud member of Gen Z, Glorian came to the United States in 2019, shortly after she finished high school in Venezuela. Although she had always been a good student, she didn’t immediately begin searching for colleges to attend stateside. She wanted to start school soon after graduation, but she thought it was better to take a time out and figure out what she really wanted. 

“In Venezuela it was really weird. I do like learning and having more knowledge but, like…the education I had was not the best.

Because of all that’s going on in the country, there were times that I didn’t have teachers in certain classes. Sometimes there were issues with light and electricity. So [I felt] I didn’t get all the information I was supposed to have. Here [in the United States] it was complicated. It was really hard to understand English grammar and stuff. It’s hard to stay engaged.

Still, my issue was less of a language barrier and more due to the general quality of Venzuelan education. There were not a lot of resources because [my school] was really poor. If you had a lot of money you could go to a very good school, with a higher quality of education, but if you don’t,  you have to stay in a school that’s not as good. It’s stressful to be in a situation where you want to learn, you have the passion, but the education system doesn’t help you. It’s similar to what’s happening in the United States. If you have money you can get into great schools, if you don’t you have to go where you can afford. At least here, no one pretends everyone is equal.” 

Now, Glorian is looking to take the CAT exam to enter Cuny. “I’m interested in learning psychology…but I’m also not 100% sure. It’s nice to have options.” 

Why do you want to learn psychology?

Mainly it’s because I really like listening and trying to help people. I listened to all these TedTalks about being who you needed when you were younger. That hit me because when I was younger I didn’t know what I wanted to do at all. What I would have liked was a therapist, or anyone, to tell me what I was going through was okay. I would like to be that for someone else.

Do you think a college education will help you do that?

A college education would make me better equipped to do that. “There’s a lot of things that I still don’t know and there’s so many ways to fuck up a person if you don’t have the correct information. I think college can give me the correct information.” 

What do you pay for when you pay for college?

It’s mainly the knowledge that I can get. If I meet people along the way and network, that’s fine, but I’m paying for the information so I can get a good job and help people. 

How do you plan to pay for college?

Right now, I have a job, but I need to start saving money for college. I don’t have the ability to ask my parents to pay for college–I have to do it myself. 

I’m not gonna lie, it’s scary. It’s scary to say it’s an investment, for years. Maybe after so much time you’re going to realize you don’t like what you study. However, my mom has always told me that you need a secure plan. You need to go to college. 

Gary’s Take

I believe one of the biggest misnomers of my position with education (and many other things) is that I believe it is a self awareness game. What I mean by that is, what I’m pushing against is that everybody in the 80s and 90s decided that college was the only route. That’s finally changing. 

Glorian’s parents might not want her to take a gap year  because her parents want her to live her life based on what they believe is right. I think that is the greatest mistake that parents make. Parents think that they know better than their child when their child is a grown up. Maybe not an experienced grown up, but treating 23 years olds as if they’re 9 has created enormous amounts of insecurity, anxiety, and a lack of belief amongst the millennial set. 

The fact that there’s even an arguement or conversation speaks to the fact that children are over relying on their parents. Most children will listen to their parents because the parents are the ones who pay for school. The parents, at their worst, hang the financial thing over their kids’ heads. They may have a conversation at first, but if the child digs in, it’s “Hey Kid, that’s cool. But, if you take this gap year, you’re paying for college by yourself.” Of course the kid folds.

If that’s not your situation and you’re not financially depending on your parents, then you better take a gap year. Your parents have no leverage. I understand loving your parents and wanting to appease them, I understand it cold. But, you always end up resenting your parents. From the kids perspective, you think you’re making your relationship with your parents stronger, but what you’re doing is making it faker in the short term and more vulnerable in the long term. 


Resources 

Should You Take A Gap Year

Side Hustles In NYC

Gap Year Abroad? Consider becoming an Au Pair

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The world is changing, and it’s important to acknowledge that certain long held beliefs should be re-examined. So many of us are stuck doing things in an outdated way and it’s only leading us to unhappiness. With that in mind, let’s rethink the paths people can take from ages 18...

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